About Posters

Surf Movie Poster Sizes.

Surf movie posters have always been budget operations, especially in the early years of the surf movie business. In many cases the art was prepared cheaply by the local print shop and printed in one or two colors only and on light weight paper- after all, these posters weren’t going to be around for long. As a result the cheapest size available was what most early surf movie producers chose. Most were handbill size but others still turn up in either quarto (250mm x 200mm approx) or foolscap (330mm x 200mm) sizes. Gig posters from this period often feature more eye catching design than surf movie poster art but were also printed on a large variety of stock sizes. These early surf and gig posters are often fragile and now hard to source. Most will feature creases, tears, and foxing (small brown stains and smudges). The paper stock is often yellowing. Their design and art is sometimes rudimentary but that doesn’t lessen their impact.

Surf movie poster art flourished in the mid sixties and seventies when producers realized the importance of strong graphic designs and eye catching color combinations rather than just using the local print shop or friend attending art school. Poster sizes were still ad-hoc until the mid seventies when the basic poster size was printed on what is now termed the Australian daybill- a long narrow poster perfect for the long display windows in cinema foyers and for tacking onto power poles. These day bills (350mm x 760mm approx) are usually printed on light weight litho paper. They are a slightly smaller variant of the U.S. ‘insert poster’

Mainstream Posters.

The Australian daybill has also been used extensively by the mainstream movie industry. However the movie industry’s most common poster size is the U.S. ‘one-sheet’ size (700mm x 1000mm approx). Thus a ‘half-sheet’ is half that size horizontally; a two sheet twice that size (more common in European poster issues). ‘Three-sheet’ posters and ‘six sheet’ posters are scaled up versions of the one sheet and were used predominantly on the side walls of cinemas. While mainstream cinema used these large format posters for most releases, their production costs meant that they were hardly ever used for surf movie advertising.  We do stock a number of three-sheet and six sheet ‘beach-party’ posters. Because they were produced over a number of separate sheets of paper, these posters need to be linen backed before hanging.